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David Sedaris has become well known for his wit and humor. After keeping a diary for 40 years, Sedaris has written his first of two books taken from his notes. His notes are really just a few words about what he’s doing, thinking, or experiencing.
During this period of time he is involved quite heavily with drugs and unable to hold down a steady job. In between jobs he helps his parents with their rental properties to make spending money.
Each entry is brief but thought provoking making it a quick page turner to see what situation he’ll get into next. Request a copy.
The main character, Count Alexander Rostov, has been sentenced to house arrest by Russia’s new Soviet masters in one of Moscow’s finest hotel Metropol. The story follows the Count’s decades confined in very small quarters within a hotel for the elite.
Rostov survives as well as he does because of of his strong belief that “If one did not master one’s circumstances, one was bound to be mastered by them”. Just when you might become a little weary of the tale, the story takes a turn that will re-awaken your interest. Request a copy.
What would you do if you were told you had a terminal disease and were a mom of small children? How would you prepare them? What would you leave to them? Would you write them a memoir to remember you? Our Short History tells how Karen Neulander, a single mom, deals with this issue after she is diagnosed with Stage IV ovarian cancer and is not expected to live much longer. This is a sensitively written fictional memoir to her six year old son. It’s sad, but also funny. I would very much recommend it. Request a copy.
(This review was originally submitted by JoAnn on May 23, 2017)
After you take in this summer’s new Wonder Woman movie, read the crazier-than-fiction backstory on the creation of America’s favorite female superhero. Jill Lepore’s The Secret History of Wonder Woman traces Wonder Woman’s creation by William Moulton Marston, who also invented the lie detector test (lasso of truth, anyone?). Marston’s unusual family arrangement is a story unto itself, and following the ups and downs of his personal life and career makes for a fascinating summer read.
In exploring the pre- and post-WWII American cultural landscape and examining Marston’s connection to major feminists of the period, including Margaret Sanger, Lepore nicely frames Wonder Woman’s rise and examines the various parties who competed over—sometimes for control, sometimes to censor—this rising icon. Request a copy.
I hadn’t before read a graphic novel (or in this case, a graphic memoir), so Kristen Radtke’s Imagine Wanting Only This was new territory for me. I was drawn to this book because of its topic, rather than its format. In it, Radtke explores her fascination with architectural ruins, relating them to her own sense of the impermanence of life and her grief over losing a close relative. Never feeling rooted or settled, she travels the world visiting abandoned towns and structures as they are slowly reclaimed by nature.
Radtke tells her story in direct, unfussy language and compelling black and white drawings. In some pages, she conforms to the traditional three to nine frame comic format, and in others her drawings overlap the frame or incorporate collage or drawn-over photographic elements, giving the book a lot of life, and the reader plenty of incentive to keep turning the pages. Radtke’s story is poignant, her illustrations lovely. This book quickly hooked me and I read it in one sitting. I now consider it a favorite. This is a great entry point into the graphic book format, and I recommend it to new graphic book readers (and experienced graphic readers won’t want to miss it). Request a copy.
Rosie and Penn are parents of five boys in Madison, Wisconsin. From a young age it is clear that their youngest son, Claude, is different from the other boys. At three years old, he tells his parents he wants to be a girl when he grows up and wants to wear dresses and bows in his hair.
Acting in the best interests of their child, Rosie and Penn are supportive of Claude’s feelings. He begins to transform into a girl named Poppy. Conflicts and hostilities from their community cause them to move. When they relocate, they decide to keep Claude’s gender a secret, which eventually causes stress and grief to the entire family.
Although the story is about a transgender child, the bigger story is how parents will always move heaven and earth for their children. Being a parent, I could totally relate. Both my children have such different personalities, but I love them both so much equally in their uniqueness and struggles. That’s what being a parent is all about, navigating the unpredictable territory of raising children. It is a strong reminder that we should judge less and embrace the differences in people. A powerful read, especially in this time period. Request a copy.
I listened to the audiobook on a trip up and back to Massachusetts. I’ve read a bunch of Lisa Scottoline’s books (she’s a lawyer who writes really cool mystery books), so I thought I’d try this. She’s written a series of books with her daughter and I wanted to check it out. They take turns with the chapters and they talk about their lives alone and together and all kinds of stuff that happens in between. I enjoyed this, as a lot of it reminded me of my daughter and me. Now I may look for their other books, since I enjoyed this one. Request a copy.
I knew very little about Queen Victoria. The various Queens Elizabeth are much better known to me, but I am very glad I watched the Masterpiece show on PBS. Daisy Goodwin wrote the TV show and also the book. Having seen and read both, I would recommend you do the same.
Queen Victoria was quite small, under five feet tall. She was imperious, and while an era is named after her, she was not the fierce little old lady I was expecting. Her ascension to the throne happened when she was young, and many in power at the time tried to control her. She was determined to rule wisely and make her own choices. Jenna Coleman does a remarkable job in the title roll of the show, and if you look at pictures of Victoria when she was young, there is a good resemblance. The show closely follows the book, but it is still enjoyable to check out them both.
Lord Melbourne is the Prime Minister and the Queen’s first love. Lehzen, Victoria’s governess, later advisor and companion and Dash, the dog, also lend support. Of course we must mention Prince Albert, also a fascinating character with an interest in modernization and his own difficulties being married to Royalty. With politics, romance and history, this coming of age story is most enjoyable. So do read the book and also see the DVD of season 1. Some scenes were deleted from the original Masterpiece TV show, so it may be preferable to watch it on DVD if you are able. And God save the Queen! Request a copy.
It isn’t often that I have read a non-fiction book in the sciences that has been so enjoyable. This title is written in story form, as if trees are almost human. It’s not simply technical literature about how trees survive or do not survive in their various environments. I guarantee you will never look at another tree without thinking about what you learned from this book. Absolutely fascinating! Request a copy.